1984 Sample Essay Outlines
by George Orwell

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Sample Essay Outlines

These are topics on which you can write a substantial analytical paper. They are designed to test your understanding of major themes and details from this novel as a whole. Following the topics are outlines you can use as a starting point for writing an analytical paper.

  • Topic #1
    The theme of betrayal is a dominant thread running throughout this novel. Give examples of characters and events that contribute to Winston’s final self-betrayal. Make it clear that these examples intensify the novel’s overall mood of loneliness and alienation.

    I. Thesis statement: Orwell explores various kinds of betrayal, including self-betrayal, to heighten the mood of loneliness and alienation in 1984.

    II. Party intolerance of betrayal to its ideology
    A. Indoctrination of children to Party policy
    B. Denouncement
    C. Role of the Thought Police
    D. Extermination
    E. Room 101

    III. Individual characters’ betrayal of one another
    A. Charrington’s betrayal of Winston and Julia
    B. Parsons’ betrayal by his children
    C. Ampleforth’s betrayal by his work
    D. O’Brien’s betrayal of Winston

    IV. The hope symbolized by Winston and Julia’s love affair
    A. The sanctuary of Charrington’s room
    B. The lovers’ definition of betrayal
    C. Winston’s betrayal of Julia
    D. Julia’s admittance to betraying Winston

    V. Self-betrayal
    A. Winston’s capitulation to the Party
    B. Implications of Winston’s defeat

    VI. Overall pessimism of the conclusion

  • Topic #2
    Orwell uses the recurrent motif of the dream to reveal background, develop character, and foreshadow key events. Analyze these dreams for their implications.

    I. Thesis statement: Orwell uses the dream, a recurrent motif, as a mechanism to reveal background, develop character, and foreshadow events.

    II. The Golden Country
    A. Part I, Chapter 2
    B. Part II, Chapter 2
    C. Common symbols and significance

    III. The sinking ship
    A. Part I, Chapter 2
    B. Part II, Chapter 7
    C. Interpretation as a key to Winston’s mother’s disappearance

    IV. “The place where there is no darkness”
    A. Introduction of the dream with O’Brien as its speaker
    B. The nightmarish wall of darkness
    C. Literal interpretation of the dream
    D. Significance of the rats

  • Topic #3
    That 1984 is a satire on totalitarian states such as Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia and a warning to the West is one of the commonly accepted interpretations of the novel. Prove that this is so by showing that Orwell did create a complete, repressive totalitarian state in Oceania.

    I. Thesis statement: Orwell’s 1984 attacks the totalitarianism of the East while warning the West of...

(The entire section is 639 words.)